The Adelaide music scene: to many of you it might be little more than a touring speed bump between Melbourne and Perth but to us it's a way of life. Feast within, on all its dysfunctioning splendour, as we bring you the highly satirical, laughingly fictional and intellectually imbecile tales from our rock & roll wasteland...
CUT OFF YOUR HANDS + TEMPER TRAP LIVE @ FOWLERS LIVE / Friday November 14th 2008
Teenagers. Nothing is more entirely fucked up in this world than being a teenager with the possible exception of just about a billion other entirely more fucked up things that could possibly spell the end of life as we know it (and most of our planet along with it) but y'know *cough* that's besides the point. Teenagers, they're pretty much fucked. All crater faced pimples, long limbed and dorky. All uncoordinated, fuglyarse, fashion retarded and gangly. Hanging around street corners and shopping centres entirely up to no good. Maaan we can barely stand the sight of ya! All week long we keep you all gleefully locked away in a facist regime of uniforms, rules and regulations called "high school" till you're wishing you were never born. It amuses us to no end, you're right where we want you to be; out of our fucking sight! Then you spend all weekend going insane, getting drunk, starting fires, throwing rocks, letterbox bombing, fucking like rabbits, knifing each other and stealing shit because nobody understands you!? Yup! nobody understands you, everything sucks and you know why? Cause you and all your fuckup friends are completely fucking insane that's why! Don't even try and argue with me, you know I'm right! None of this teenage shit makes sense!? tell us something we DON'T know! It's madness! One minute you're a kid and everything's awesome then *BAM* everything sucks!? Too old for everything, too young for anything else!? Hate everyone, everyone hates you and you just hope and pray you can get out of this shit alive without making a complete dick of yourself 24/7!? Oh it's "hell" alright! I know because I was there duuuude, we were ALL there, some of us are STILL there and the last thing we ever want in this life to relive that experience all over again! We drink to forget we were even there in the first place maaaan! Maths, physics, chemistry, biology AND english; pffft who needs that shit!? we've forgotten it all! We're adults, we love it here, nothing but sex, drugs and rock 'n roll! Which is why I'm ever so overjoyed to have stumbled into your territory again tonight! OOOH YEAAH! Fuck I love all-ages events! They're the best damn gigs in the whole DAMN planet.. weeeeeeee! :)
Now dont get me wrong, I truly appreciate the all-ages event, no really I do! It's awesome that we can give all you shit weasels the opportunity to blow off steam (especially in shittyarse venues on Waymouth Street that we never ever go to.. wooooo!). We understand that being a teenager blows goats, hairyarse goats, and the more we can give you a little more of THIS shit and a whole lot less of that other MTV, Australian Idol, Top 40, sad sack, wrist slashing "ZOMG! LOL! Gerard Way we all SO wants to have your deformed babeez!" disposable emo crap the better: but when you're old enough to fake a decent photo ID you'll know that anywhere else is better than here! All-ages events are THE diet coke, decaf, soy, margarine, gluten free, unsalted, pissy vanilla essence of the rock 'n roll experience. They're a police state in wrist bands, wall to wall surveillance, security and "sensible" good times (although understandably it's probably the most YOUR hormones could handle without the army being called in to tear gas the joint). Yup, if ever I had the choice, I'd be anywhere else but here. And yet just when I least expected it, they sprung one on me tonight? Fuck! Why damn it!? Why must YOU, Fowlers Live, unleash THIS hell on me again!?
9:11PM - Yup, there's so many countless reasons why an all-ages event totally blow goats, the first of which is that they always start so ridiculously damn early! Granted, I would be perfectly fine with this if I happened to have gotten fair warning well in advance, and not just turned up at nine (like I always do) only to realise that it's an all-ages event and the show's already half over. Fuck! So then with no time to spare I charge to the front with murder in my mind, only to collide with the second reason my night's about to gargle both those testicles in a big way: the ever accursed "fangirl swarm". You'll see these midgets at EVERY all-ages gig you'll go to. They're the ones who've been camping here since dawn. They're the ones who haven't moved at inch since. They block all points of attack. They form a solid barrier three rows deep and there's NO bargaining with them. They are the bane of a rock photographer's existence. Do not be fooled by their teeny tiny fragile stature either: they may be nothing but wicker, kindling, card tables and lawn furniture holding handbags (and a few well aimed cannonballs WOULD surely make short work of them all) but if you're any taller than four foot tall with a Y chromosome you ain't getting shit past them! There is no stage barrier to hold them back, no press pass they'll ever answer to. Oh no! you'll be miles back getting landed on by crowdsurfing dickheads all night and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it! Damn you teeny tiny fangirl swarm!! DAAAAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!
TEMPER TRAP (****1/2) myspace :: So understandably I'm cursing and swearing, this is the last thing I ever wanted from my Friday night out and you just KNOW this whole blog's going to be nothing short of me dumping shit on all these sad sacks who probably get more than enough shit dumped on them everyday at school (eating disorder anyone? wooooo!). I've only just gotten here, I've already missed the first band: Bye Bye Mountain, who were on at eight (what the fuck!?), I've already missed half of THIS second touring act from Melbourne who started a little before nine; oh and there's NO time to hit the bar to drink myself retarded before putting myself into the thick of this shit!? Awesome! But then 5-10 minutes into my nightmare, after beating my head against the 200th consecutive shot ruined by some arseclown flapping their arms about all up in my frame of view when that music FINALLY takes hold just like the doctor ordered. I'm nodding along, I'm drifting along to the dreamlike melodies and a smile broadens on my face: "whoaaa.. fuck damn this shit is awesome!". Temper Trap. I'd seen them twice before: way back in October 2006 at the Jade Monkey, and second at Jive a few months later in January 2007. Back then they were most "memorable" for the distinctive nasal twang of their front man Dougy who rather reminded me of what Fran Drescher with a head concussion would've sounded like fronting U2 circa 1983 (or the less said about how grating the vocals were on their all-too aptly named single: Sirens the better!). Expecting more of the same tonight I was almost regretting the 5-6 beers I didn't have a chance to drown myself in before rushing headlong through the crowd; but to their infinite credit they've infinitely improved their sound since last we met. In fact tonight, Temper Trap's set may very well have saved us all!
Temper Trap. What's most memorable from their set tonight is the many subtle layers of production that they weave to a crowd goldfish stunned and blubbering in their wake. This ain't just some post punk knock-off dusting up the dancefloor no more. This in its lush instrumentation and fluid delivery is a sound, an accomplished ease, that's much more akin to the serene species spawned when U2 met Brian Eno, when Paul Epworth met the Bloc Party, or when Thom Yorke really and truly lost his freaking mind post OK Computer. It's Dougy flying about the stage flailing his arms about like Kermit the Frog on a mad sugar hit (ie: just as fucked up as he always his) but with a vocal delivery that not so much runs shrill like a busted up smoke alarm, but floats through the air with a lilting sonorance like Jim James from My Morning Jacket. Watch as the rest of the band weave an ecclectic mix around him in a littany of insane squinting facials (most notably from Lorenzo on lead guitar and keys popping a pineapple) that alternates seamlessly between layered guitar, tribal drum, epic build and electronic breakdown. Then let it wash over the stage like the tide of the ocean as it draws you in. Aaaaaaah! Overall it most resembles TV On The Radio's "Dear Science," in overall scope and skittish feel (and occassionally in its madenning revelry), but its no less infinitely euphoric in its delivery. Temper Trap? Damn, who knew they had it in them!
CUT OFF YOUR HANDS (****1/2) myspace :: If ever there was one phrase that neatly sums up THIS our headlining act, it would be: "live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse". James Dean lived by it. This band reanimates his shiny carcasss and gives him a damn good beating black and blue every time that they play. Cut Off Your Hands. Their name may not be familiar to some, their sound may be just as forgettable as any other "dancepunk/powerpop" head-on collision you've heard on the radio a billion times before: Franz Ferdinand, Maxïmo Park, The Rakes, The Rapture, The Futureheads, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Arctic Monkeys, The Young Knives, The Moving Units, The Hives, you named it! (or any other number of names you see listed on fliers for grubbyarse indie rugburns at 3AM) but if you've EVER seen them live you'd be hard pressed to forget these idiots in a hurry, just like you'd be hard pressed to find most of your teeth since scattered to the walls and ceiling in their wake. Cut Off Your Hands. They're a touring act from New Zealand that comes with a reputation. A reputation that's half legend and half hyperbole bordering on the hysterical. A reputation that mostly revolves around their most fanatical and fearless frontman Nick Johnston. You may remember the time he crowd surfed up to the ceiling and INTO the light fixtures (where he hung swinging to and fro) when they played Rocket Bar back in September 2007. You may remember their Big Day Out appearances back in February 2008 when Nick was sporting a moonboot plaster cast on his leg and yet STILL dove headfirst into that crowd like he was ten foot tall and bulletproof. It's his boundless enthusiasm bordering on the bombing suicidal that makes this band the bleedingly awesome, batshit insane, power pop assault to the senses that they are; and it's the main reason why most of us idiots keep coming back for more! If you own the records, if you've heard them on the radio: you've only ever experienced the half of it! And if you're one of any number of those midgets lining the first three rows out front? duuudes you may very well not get out of this shit alive!
Still, Cut Off Your Hands are a curious dysfunction to witness live. For all their ultraviolence, they do possess an all too unnaturally polished front. Which is hinted somewhat when in tonight's set (as the lights dim) they're introduced by the spaced out 50's lullaby of "Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream" (aka: The Everly Brothers' and their song: All I Have To Do Is Dream). It's a deceptive move as far as opening gambits go: a soothing hit of nostalgia that in no way warns us of the carnage that is yet to come, althought all more than apt when you consider most of what Cut Off Your Hands does would otherwise bear more than a striking similarity to any given "Happy Days" episode if only you didn't feed Ron Howard nearly enough crack amphetamines, fruit loops and red bull to implode an elephant. It's also a soothing hit that's all but shortlived the minute the band hits the stage. It's Nick Johnston yelping like a deranged cockerspaniel, jumping around with giddy handclaps whilst the rest of his band thrash their power pop candy sounds to within an inch of their lives (and to within each and every one of the expendible masses now schrieking exciteably before them). And all in all it's rather like watching a herd of gazelle lined up like bowling pins in front of a pack of cheetahs shot repetively out of cannons. Half of me wants those gazelle to live, half of me wants to see them all to be torn limb by limb whilst I laugh hysterically at the bloodening spectacle of it. Its for this very reason (and for many others that don't involve my rapidly dwindling life expectancy and me buying a sixth camera to replace the one I'll soon be shattering) that I choose to shoot most of those photos tonight (and this video below) from the relative safety of the side of stage (perched up on a speaker stacks) and not whilst being rapidly trodden underfoot by the madenning stampede of a million dickheads in the middle..
As for their set night (and as much as my dim recollection can gather) most of it follows in the same order as they appear on the album (only with most of the slow bits taken out). Recogniseable jams include the anthemic swell of Happy As Can Be and Great Expectations, the twinkly upbeat jam of Oh Girl, the frenetic shred of Still Fond and my personal fave Closed Eyes (which tore shit up like nobody's business). But of course THIS is not the real reason for why any of us came here in droves tonight. Oh no! We wanted nothing short of fucking carnage from this band! And although I almost feared that these kamikaze shitstains might actually go "easy" on this all-ages crowd tonight, they didn't disappoint. Midway into their set, after much hysterical flailing on stage, and with barely a warning sign to any of the fangirls swarming out front of him(bwahahaha.. suckers!), Nick Johnston took aim and dove riiiight into the thick of it!
Which considering all the twizzle sticks standing in the frontlines before him, could've easily spelt disaster. I could see it now: Nick dropping like a stone headfirst to the bottom of that pond with a resounding clunk, a whimper and gurgle, followed by all those fangirls swarming in on him like piranhas and leaving nothing but a foaming stain and a few chance vertebrae at the end of it all. We all know the risks. Sometimes lead singers take the plunge and never come back again (or the less jokes I make about Jeff Buckley the better.. weeeee!). But Nick was oblivious to it all, jumping in and out of the fray, arms and legs flailing, barely a care in the world! Still, such antics weren't completely without incident tonight. Speaking to their bass player Phil Hadfield after the show, I'm told Nick eventually struck "gold" when he broke a girl's nose in one of his many "suicide attempts" in the second half of the set (they also told me they were secretly hoping her nose would swell to twice it's size, so that then they could sign it.. YES!). Unfortunately I never got a photo of it (fuuuuck.. I know!) but if you DID happen to capture it, and if it ever *cough* makes an appearance online? that's JUST the kinda fucked up retarded shit I'd kill to see!
11:43PM - But of course just like any other night of "harmless" fun you've ever had as a teenager (and I can name a few that got busted by the cops in record time back in the early 90's), the minute it got as good as it got, it was all over and out those doors! (followed by everyone fleeing into the bushes with their sixpacks and goon waiting it out till the sirens fade off into the distance; or the less said about that ONE fucked up party I went to when I was sixteen, the better!). Now most of you pencil neck dweebs would've probably gone home at this point. For YOU this would've been a "big night out", followed by a few hours of myspace, facebook, livejournal, listening to 30 Seconds To Mars b-sides of Jaret Leto wetting himself, followed by you slashing your wrists over the pointlessness of it all. But for the rest of us career alcoholics, our night had only just begun!
11:58PM - So for all of you teenagers out there who DID have to go home early to study, jerk off, slash your wrists, or otherwise blow shit up in a suburban park somewhere, here's all the exciting whizbang adventures you otherwise missed out on: such as the time we all went to the Ed Castle and drank beer! Yeah I know! and it sounds just as excitingly awesome reading it now as it was for me and all my fuckup friends killing our braincells when we were there. Wow! Remind us again just how exactly our lives went down the toilet the minute this shit was "legal". Oh yeah! nevermind..
1:14AM - As such most of my night here doesn't rate much of a mention; as I'm pretty sure you've already seen me drunk, most of my friends drunk and could pretty much write an entire PhD thesis on it thanks to all the endless wealth of material I've been providing you over the years (which may conclusively point to either Joe Blogs or Nick Hadley being the antichrist, or provide us with the cure for cancer if only we could figure out why their livers are violating all known laws of time and space). Still, all was not lost in this misadventure, as the Ed Castle DID offer up one insane interlude in A-class retardation, when I spotted these two screeching idiots making complete dicks of themselves in front of the Buck Shooting range near the toilets.. awesome!
Now you may wonder briefly why this ONE thing warrants a mention over all the other stupid things that I saw here tonight: or at least you would until you realise that both Cheech and Chong here have somehow managed to match the insane orange and green of the shotguns that they're weilding with the equally insane orange and green that they're wearing; and the minute I realised this (coupled with them screaming like hysterical mexicans at all the shit on the screen before them) damnit, I couldn't stop laughing for the next ten to twenty minutes. Priceless!
1:17AM - Then for no clear reason whatsoever, it only got all the more genius when inexplicably Penmonicus made an appearance with what appeared to be a toy saxaphone to accompany their alcoholic meltdown. Seriously, I ask you: what could be more stupid than a screaming lunatic wielding a bright green shotgun!? a screaming lunatic wielding a bright green shotgun whilst some other idiot plays a toy saxaphone that's what! Shit damn, it can't get no better than this!
2:19AM - One hour and considerably many beers later (and considerably fewer braincells with which to guide us in following) it was decided we should then switch locations to Producers Bar and Electric Light Hotel in the east end ghetto, quite possibly in effort to lose the murderous rampage of Cheech and Chong (and a full mariachi band that had since erupted in their wake) or quite possibly because we had no reason at all but to drink ourselves retarded in a slightly different location than the one we were in before. Sure, I'm told it does absolutely nothing to the TASTE of the beer, but it sure as fuck makes you urinate all kinds of wacky different colours!
2:51AM - Speaking of such, or quite possibly speaking of nothing to do with anything at all, we're since entertained by the awesome spectacle that is Anthony from Kytes Of Omar with a weaselly looking moustache, whilst some other random idiot wears a pumpkin on his head for no other reason than Halloween was over two weeks ago and this is clearly the most stupid thing ever (and yet ironically enough, I STILL choose to take a photograph of it anyways, go figure?).
3:33AM - And then of course who could forget everyone's favourite reason to raise the legal drinking age to well over the age of retirement in your closing statement, otherwise known as the shitcrazy folicle malfunction that is Ross here: owner of Producers Bar, Electric Light Hotel, The Ed Castle (quite possibly Zhivagos as well) and the very few remaining braincells that still choose to call his head home that utterly fail to recognise just how many flavours of fucked up this cardigan is that he's wearing right now. This ever so ridiculously stylish cardigan that I couldn't help but photograph, in effort to prove its infinite amusement to the many hundreds, possibly thousands (but most likely just 3-4 idiots) on this blog still looking at me all confused right now..
Yup, wow that Spoz sure as fuck knows how to party on a Friday night doesn't he!? Don't you wish you were him right now living it up like this!? Fuck damn this shit's awesome! I mean sure, Ross may look like a cannibalistic disco biscuit manifesting more than one mental illness in a rainbow of dysfunction bordering on an appearance in the evening news, followed by footage of several bodies being lifted out of a suburban home with several of their arms and legs missing (mmmm tastes like pork!), but duuude THIS is what being "legal drinking age" is all about!
And when you're old enough not to be entirely bugged the fuck out by all this retarded shit and reaching for the nearest can of bugspray and a cigarette lighter, you'll be here partying it up with the rest of us too! Oh yes! We're you're future maaan and there's NO escaping us! Muhahaha!
Which in closing probably gives you more than an infinite number of reasons for why being a teenager maybe ISN'T the most entirely fucked up thing ever and why there's many things out there that are a whole lot worse! Sure life sucks. Sure everyone hates you. Sure nobody understands you. Sure Gary Glitter continues to roams free in this world despite all our efforts to kill him off with silver bullets and garlic but with your education and your still fully functional frontal lobes, there's NO limit to what you could possibly achieve! Get out there, get some sunlight, get some vitamin C and get some exercise! Enjoy the great outdoors, read a book and keep the hell away from an all-ages venue. That shit will damn near kill you don'tcha know!